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Enhanced Penalties for California DUI

dui lawyerIn recent years, California has taken a “get tough” approach to punishment when it comes to drunk driving. More severe disciplinary measures like increased jail time and larger fines are just the tip of the iceberg. Many individuals who are convicted of DUI in the state of California face what are commonly referred to as “enhanced penalties”, which can result in longer license suspensions or revocations and even felony incarceration. Certain aggravated circumstances can increase the chances of an individual receiving enhanced penalties for DUI. This article discusses such instances.

Instances that Might Cause You to Receive Enhanced Penalties for DUI

  • Prior Convictions: Prior convictions of DUI within the last 10 years will have a significant impact on the severity of your punishment when you are convicted of driving under the influence in California. While a single “prior” can result in increased jail time, license suspension and the requirement to complete DUI school, three “priors” can land you with felony charges that are punishable by state prison.  A DUI attorney with a lot of experience may be able to get a court order that a prior conviction is unconstitutional.
  • High BAC (Blood Alcohol Content): If you are convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or higher, the state of California will likely impose enhanced penalties.
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing:  Refusal to submit to chemical testing will result in an increased jail term as well as a longer license suspension than imposed for .08% or higher.
  • Speeding with Reckless Driving: If you are convicted of driving recklessly or driving in excess of the posted speed limit by 25 mph while under the influence with a BAC of .08 or higher, the prosecutor may file an enhancement that requires 60 days in jail.
  • Child Endangerment: In California, if a minor passenger under the age of 14 is riding in the vehicle when drunk driving is committed, it is considered child endangerment. The prosecutor may file a separate charge of child endangerment.
  • Accident or Injury: An accident can cause enhanced penalties to be imposed. When an injury results from the DUI, California will raise the offense to a felony if the injury is significant.

Imposing Enhanced Penalties for DUI

While any of the above situations can cause enhanced penalties to be imposed, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to plead the enhancements and prove the independent facts beyond reasonable doubt. When this occurs, there is a wide variety of approaches a qualified DUI lawyer can take in order to help reduce some of the penalties. Your DUI lawyer might advise you to plead guilty to the DUI charges in exchange for the prosecutor dropping the enhancements.

Help with Your DUI Case

If you or a loved one are facing DUI charges in Southern California, it is essential that you contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer for assistance with your case. Hiring a qualified attorney can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are facing enhanced penalties.

Call or email Jon Artz if you would like to discuss your case in confidence with an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney.


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